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Jerry Erdmann, Fargo, Published October 20 2012

Letter: Smoking argument is flawed

Regarding Justin Vega’s letter to the editor in the Oct. 15 Forum:

I am in favor of Measure 4 and plan to vote “yes.”

He states, “Smoke-Free North Dakota has carelessly debased the right to property and, in a dictatorial fashion, determined that business owners cannot own and operate their business in a fashion the owners deem most acceptable.”

This argument is flawed. There are many businesses that are regulated by government as to the hours they can be open and to whom they can sell their products. Many retail stores in North Dakota have to be closed from midnight until noon on Sundays. I’m sure many of these businesses would love to be open at least a portion of those 12 hours so they can operate their businesses in the fashion they deem most acceptable.

Vega talks about how this law will prohibit smoking in bars and how this is telling bar owners how to run their business and how, in his opinion, this is wrong and government should not be allowed to do this.

If we accept this argument, then we should get rid of other regulations bar owners need to follow. Let’s say bars should be allowed to stay open 24 hours a day, seven days a week and not close at a set time that is regulated by the government. Imagine how many more alcohol-impaired drivers would be on the roads around the state and how many more innocent lives would be lost.

Let’s just allow bar owners to sell alcohol to anyone no matter their age instead of telling them they cannot serve anyone under the age of 21, the age set by the government. Imagine how much more underage drinking we would have in the state and how many more parents would be worried about the safety of their children. I don’t think any reasonable person would think that changing these government regulations is a good idea.

Some government regulation is good and necessary for the health and well-being of society.